LECTURES
2022 - 2023 Season

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

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Ancient Pastoralists and Ancient States: The Political Ecology of the Nubian C-Group on Ancient Egypt's Southern Frontier

 

Shayla Monroe, University of California, Santa Barbara (African Archaeology Lecture)

6:00 pm EST

Online via Zoom 

Abstract: Dr. Monroe’s dissertation research explored the political ecology of the Egyptian colonial frontier in Lower Nubia.  She began with an investigation of the long-term relationship between climate change and cattle pastoralism in northeastern Africa and followed with a zooarchaeological analysis of the excavated cattle remains left by the Egyptians of Askut (c. 1850 – 1550 BC), one of several large military garrisons built to monitor and control pharaonic Egypt’s southern borders.  Her questions were largely focused on the local herders that provided cattle to the Second Cataract Forts, namely, the pastoralist Nubian C-Group, the previous occupants of the territories that were occupied by Egyptian forces. C-Group people represented a long tradition of non-state pastoralist groups who shaped the political ecology of borderlands between pharaonic Egypt and Kerma.  Dr. Monroe used the food refuse at Askut to explore the role of livestock exchange in the interactions between Egyptian colonists and C-Group Nubians. Through time, the bones tell a story of human response to climate change, cultural fragmentation, survival, and coerced assimilation that still resonates with the socio-political circumstances of African pastoralists in present times.   

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Thursday, November 10, 2022

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Fixing the Date: the AD 79 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius

 

Pedar W. Foss, DePauw University (Davison Lecture)

7:00 p.m. EST

Online via Zoom 

Abstract:  There has been much recent argument about whether the AD 79 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius happened in August or October, with scholarly and popular opinion swinging toward the latter. While a difference of two months might seem insignificant, it matters because it is a test of our argumentative methods and processes in archaeology and history. I will present the results of a 9-year project to examine all of the archaeological evidence but also, for the first time, to collate all surviving manuscript and early book sources for the Younger Pliny’s account. This investigation reveals that many current arguments are based on a long trail of sometimes spectacular blunders and misconceptions, and offers a solution to the question of when Vesuvius buried the ancient cities of the Neapolitan coast.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

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Jenifer Neils (Howland Lecture)

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Abstract: The Battle of Chaironeia was a turning point in Greek history. Macedonian forces under the command of Phillip II and his son Alexander defeated a combined Greek force of Athenians, Thebans, and others near the town of Chaironeia, establishing Macedonia dominance over much of the Greek mainland. Anchoring the Greek line on the right was the Theban Sacred Band, an elite military unit consisting of 150 pairs of hoplite soldiers, who were purportedly lovers as well as comrades in arms. Opposite them on the Macedonian left was the cavalry force led by Alexander, then 18 years old. In the course of this decisive defeat of the Greeks, the Theban Sacred Band was almost entirely annihilated. Excavations in the 19th century recovered skeletons of the Theban soldiers interred at a battle monument near the acropolis of Chaironeia. This lecture presents evidence from these skeletons for death on the battlefield and subsequent mutilation of the corpses, and explores the use and efficacy of weapons and armor in ancient warfare.

For previous lecture seasons, click here.

All lectures are free and open to the public